Narnia Time: Apparently, in the world where the war takes place, time is "not steady", meaning that the warriors can spend ages fighting for the gods in countless cycles of war, but are still able to return to the time and place from which they were summoned.
Nerf: Almost every aspect of gameplay was nerfed for Dissidia 012, with the net result that characters do less damage, equipment and accessories are less-important, battles last longer and skill is more critical:
Equipment pieces had their abilities nerfed. In Dissidia the Ragnarok gave +25% physical damage and the Zwill Crossblade gave +30% initial EX Force. Dissidia 012, +10% physical damage and +20% initial EX Force. Booster accessories are now one each, and some had their multiplier reduced. Basic accessories had their effects heavily nerfed in addition to mostly being one each. For example, in Dissidia, you could equip a Gaia Ring (+15% damage), two Muscle Belts (+15% physical damage), and a Champion Belt (+25% physical damage). In Dissidia 012 you get one Muscle Belt (+7% physical damage), and the Gaia Ring and Champion Belt no longer exist.
EX Cores and EX Force charge the EX Gauge less, and EX Mode lasts less time (especially since the main equipment pieces used to extend EX Mode duration were nerfed with everything else).
Stage Bravery is lower and Wall Rush damage is less. In Dissidia, if you inflicted Break that was an instant +4000 Bravery (usually, give or take), and with a Wall Rush HP attack that's 6000 damage plus your Bravery when you got the boost. Dissidia 012, Break will give around +2000 Bravery, and with wall Rush that's 2500 damage. Exact same circumstances, less than half the damage.
A nerf that doesn't sound as drastic on paper as it is in practice, dodging no longer "recharges" your jumps - once you exhaust your jumps you can't jump again until you land or use Quickmove on something. Thus, staying in the air for extended periods of time is harder.
And that's all in addition to the various buffs and nerfes individual characters got. Terra in particular is widely considered to be one of the most heavily nerfed characters.
Never Live It Down: In-universe as Mythology Gags—if a character had a particularly embarrassing moment in their original game, like Firion's near-seduction by the Lamia Queen or Cloud's cross-dressing in Wall Market, Dissidia will reference it for a laugh. In Dissidia 012, Vaan got this worst of all—his infamous "how old are you" line pops up four times.
Nice Hat: Or better said, Nice Helmets, Warrior of Light and Onion Knight, as well as those listed under Mask Power above.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The only reason Chaos is able to kill Cosmos is because the heroes collected the crystals, which hold her power.
To their defense, she sent them on their mission knowing fully well that this would happen. Her plan was to let them each get part of her power so that they could remain and defeat Chaos. And know "True Darkness", which would be utter despair at the world apparently being screwed, yet having the willpower to get up and keep going. Given Warrior of Light's mentality alone, this was practically guaranteed to work.
Good luck getting Feral Chaos as a playable character. The dungeons leading to his are decent enough, the enemies max out at your level normally. Feral Chaos's level? The STARTING enemies are level 120, with max equipment on them, not to mention how stupidly dodgy and accurate the enemies are. You've got five levels of this before meeting the level 130 Feral Chaos with over 125,000 HP.
Non-Standard Character Design: Seemingly to keep them true to original form (FFIX had Super-Deformed character designs), Zidane and to a lesser extent Kuja are much more cartoony compared to the other characters. Zidane is also the third shortest Cosmos warrior, while Kuja is the shortest for Chaos.
Not Drawn to Scale and/or Your Size May Vary - The Final Fantasy series already takes a "more like guidelines" approach to official heights and weights. Thing get even worse/better in Dissidia, as this rip of the renders shows.note While we don't know if there are any "official DFF" canon heights, we do know that WOL is canonically 189cm, thanks to Ultimania, so the chart is fairly congruent. Most jarring, likely, of the changes are Cecil, who has become the tallest Cosmos-side character by shooting up over half a foot, to roughly 194cm/6'4", and Kefka, who's had a growth spurt of roughly the same amount, winding up somewhere around 191cm/6'2". Some fans theorize the changes made to Cecil were intended to make his many scenes with the roughly 2.5m/8' giant Golbez somewhat less... awkward, since Golbez is Cecil's brother, but as there are no potential explanations for the other changes, no one really knows why.
Not Quite Flight - Kuja has the ability to Glide, and Sephiroth, Terra and Kefka get the ability to Glide in their EX Modes. It's just what it sounds like—by holding the jump button they can float around the stage, albeit they lose altitude steadily. Certain characters are also allowed to float while using certain attacks.
And then there's the various Air Dash skills, which allow a quick dash in any direction straight to the sides in the air. In Dissidia 012, Omni Air Dash+ allows you to not only dash in any direction in the air, but you can direct your character to turn in the air as well.
Not So Different - Taking a moment to examine the fighting styles of different characters reveals that many of the hero-villain pairs fight similarly. For example, Firion is a ground-based character, while the Emperor, with Bombard, Thunder Crest and Flare, prefers fighting on the ground as well. The Onion Knight's weak Bravery attacks means its best to have him spam HP attacks, which is the speciality of the Cloud of Darkness. Squall relies on Blade Spam, Ultimecia relies on Beam Spam, and in Dissidia 012 third wheel Laguna adds in More Dakka. Zidane and Kuja are both aerial masters that excell in airborne combat. Tidus relies on dodging when an opponent attacks and then countering, Jecht's low range means the most reliable way to hit with him is to Jecht Block and hit while the opponent is staggering.
Not-So-Harmless Villain - The manikins, in their entirety. In the original Dissidia, manikins were your basic Mooks, existing to be mowed down near-thoughtlessly and with barely a comment from the heroes. Sure, a couple of the manikins were fierce on a gameplay level, but even so, it was clear that the manikins were strictly small-time. Then Dissidia 012 came out, and the manikins were transformed from regular mooks to a Zerg Rush that terrifies the forces of Cosmos, not only because of their power and numbers but also their nature, being soulless duplicates of living people. And then, we find out that while Death Is Cheap due to Dissidia's "Groundhog Day" Loop, they keep fighting even when you're already down and will push you past the point you can be revived, resulting in you getting Killed Off for Real if you get overwhelmed by them. Clearly these are no longer mooks to be trifled with.
Obviously Evil - Pretty much all the villains except for Golbez and Jecht fit this trope. And the only reason Golbez doesn't fit it is because he's not actually evil, not because he doesn't look it.
One-Hit-Point Wonder - Gold Manikins usually come in at low HP but have either a huge amount of Bravery or summonstones to increase it, or to decrease yours. They usually wear the enemy-only accessory "The Rotten" which saps their HP to 1.
The player can make their own character this too. The "Strong Against Adversity" booster in fact counts on it, giving you a 3.0x multiplier when you have 1 HP. Combined with the Ensanguined Shield and Back to the Wall accessory so you start the battle this way, toss in a couple more boosters that will trigger for being near death, and add in the Back to the Wall ability. The result is a character with only 1 hit point, but a huge booster multiplier to power up their other accessories, an increased critical hit ratio, and the power to instantly charge their Assist gauge by dodging and countering attacks.
One-Man Army - The Warrior of Light. It's possible to write off his holding off an entire army of manikins as large as the one Lightning, Vaan, Yuna, Laguna, Tifa, and Kain are fighting for as long or longer than they do as Conservation of Ninjutsu, until you find out that among every warrior in the nightmare universe Shinryu plunged Cid into, of Chaos and Cosmos alike, the Warrior of Light held out the longest against Feral Chaos. So yes, he is just that good. He also fights far more villains in his story than any other character, taking down Ultimecia, Sephiroth, the Emperor, and Garland (twice), along with of course all the Manikins barring his path in-between.
One-Winged Angel - The Emperor (in his Emperor of Hell form), Golbez, Kefka, Kuja, and Jecht (though a more normal human-sized version). Weirdly enough, the trope namer Sephiroth doesn't go all One Winged Angel on us (except that literally speaking, he does). Because his final boss form would require loading a whole 'nother character model mid-battle, his EX Mode is merely his one black wing from Advent Children and the Kingdom Hearts games.
Not to mention the fact that his final boss form doesn't even have any legs and one of his arms is an oversized wing, which would mean that either he'd still continue wielding the Masamune that way and look supremely awkward doing it or gain another moveset like Gabranth does, meaning he'd have to either have quick access to his EX mode like Gabranth does and steal his main gimmick while still being a perfectly complete character without needing to use it or only have access to it the normal way, which would make the new moveset far too situational.
Exdeath and Ultimecia both get their penultimate forms rather than their final, "true" One-Winged Angel ones (Exdeath in a more humanoid version of his "magical tree" form, and Ultimecia with Junction Griever), probably for similar reasons to Sephiroth. Exdeath also has a reskin based on the horned "figurehead" of his Neo-Exdeath form in the sequel.
And technically the final boss isGarland's One Winged Angel form.
And with the addition of Feral Chaos, Chaos has his own One Winged Angel form. So does this mean that he now has every type of one winged angel covered yet?
Subverted by Ultimecia, who seemed to have no problem with letting Garland help her against Squall.
In fact, if you specifically use the appropriate character to finally defeat a particular Chaos minion, you get a special cutscene before and after the battle.
One-Hit KO - Quite often possible if you can get your Bravery high enough. Also, some Mooks in story mode have only 1 HP, but make up for it with huge Bravery boosts, turning the fight into "first attack wins."
Orgasmic Combat - Some of the characters sound like they may be doing... something other than fighting when they get hit. Running through their voice files in the Museum, in rapid succession, can take the effect Up to Eleven—Terra, Cloud of Darkness, and Firion are particularly notable in this regard.
The Other Darrin - In Dissidia 012, Vaan is voiced by Kensho Ono rather than Kohei Takeda. Square-Enix said they couldn't finalize a deal with Takeda but didn't want to cut Vaan, but some fans suspect that Takeda was dropped because he "spoiled" the surprise by reporting on his website that he was going to be in a new Final Fantasy game.
Out of the Inferno - The villains walking out of lava. In yet another Mythology Gag, Sephiroth poses in front of the fire exactly the same way he did in Final Fantasy VII and more specifically, the flashback in Advent Children.
Palette Swap - The Manikins, the base enemies of the game, are mono-colored clones of the playable cast.
Painting the Medium - Each character uses the command-window style from their own game when using an HP attack, presumably to distinguish commands from each character in the heat of battle.
In addition, when facing off against Chaos, the battle screen says "Shape The Future!" (previously used as Dissidia's exclusive story mode opening effect) instead of "Battle Start".
When an EX Burst is performed, the "map screen" of the fight breaks away and the characters enter the generic EX Burst screen/dimension/whatever. The screen breaks away in a manner reminiscent of the Random EncounterFight Wooshes throughout the original series—except this time, it's the character performing the EX Burst that causes the break, each in a different way: Firion shoots a burningarrow that "hits" the screen and causes it to shatter, Terra fires a blast of Blizzard that shatters it, Cecil simply punches the center of the screen, Cloud and Squall destroy it with their blades... the list goes on.
And then, in Dissidia 012, Feral Chaos's EX Burst compounds the above. First, he charges through the screen, shattering it to reveal the EX Burst screen/dimension/whatever, then flings his hapless victim straight up, where they hit the EX Burst screen and make it break away to reveal the little hell-dimension where Feral Chaos, erm... does his thing. At the climax, the screen breaks yet again to show the silhouette of the victim being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, then it switches to a static-y Jitter Cam depicting Chaos pulling back to finish off the victim, from the victim's point of view, before—the screen goes black, cutting out exactly like a deactivated (or destroyed) TV set. Brrrrr.
Panty Shot - As you might expect, Tifa and Terra provide these in some outfits. Also as expected, the in-game manual for the model viewer comments on this:
Sabin: I don't get it since I spent so much time training, but I don't think you'll be able to rotate the characters in the direction you want. But my brother mentioned something about battle replay in creation being useful... What could he have meant?
Kuja is one constant panty shot — especially when he loses — and in Dissidia 012, Yuna's second alt outfit means a panty shot every single time she goes up a wall. Every. Single. Time.
Peninsula of Power Leveling - Certain gateways in Dissidia 012 can be used to grind easily. One notable gateway has 5 battles straight away from a accessories protected spot allowing the player to make full use of accessories that boost Exp and AP gain, but usually break after battle.
Point That Somewhere Else - During Cloud and Sephiroth's second battle, Cloud points the Buster Blade at Sephiroth when he becomes angry at him for something he said. Sephiroth just smirks and calmly moves it aside.
The Pollyanna - Bartz, so much. His optimism is downright infectious. Onion Knight and Zidane also count, although they're a bit more realistic and reflective.
Post-End Game Content - when you end the game you'll gain access to a lot of new things to buy in the catalog. And whenever you end a character's storyline you can repeat it again, and this time you'll be able to get some rewards you couldn't get before.
Power Creep, Power Seep - As seen in Adaptional Badass above, every villian has been placed on even terms with each other villian despite where they lie on the Sorting Algorithigm of Villain Threat and every hero has been upped to face any one of them.
Pre Ass Kicking One Liner - More or less all the pre-battle introductory quotes. Dissidia 012 added in unique two-part encounter quotes for storyline battles where they actually banter.
Garland: "I will grant you true and utter annihilation!" Lightning: "Bring it on! I don't need a second chance!"
Exdeath: "Prepare to disappear into the Void!" Zidane: "Like hell if I take a curtain call here!"
Emperor: "Grovel before my unrivaled power!" Bartz: "Try saying that after I get through with you!"
Taken to its most logical extent by each Destiny Odyssey having an epilogue that, more often than not, doesn't even concern them. Thankfully there's a cutscene theatre in the bonus features so that you can absorb the plot in order.
Razor Wind/Sword Beam - Cloud gets his Blade Beam as a Brave attack, Sephiroth also has a couple of Brave attacks like this. Warrior of Light has one for a HP attack, as does Squall.
Bonus points for the Warrior of Light in that his sword beams are acually shaped like swords.
Regional Bonus - For once in Squeenix's history, it's also an NTSC-US Bonus. Included in the American and EU versions of the game are tweaked movesets, new cutscenes, and an extra Duel Coliseum mode where every other encounter is an SNK Boss. All this is, of course, came back to Japan via the Universal Tuning edition. Some fans though, actually declare the American and EU versions better than Universal Tuning, as UT slowed down a lot of the Dash-type abilities, and removed the ability to dodge cancel a lot of moves thereby giving several characters a lot less combo potential.
Remember the New Guy - Dissidia 012 focuses heavily upon the new characters that were added, who of course were never mentioned in the original game. Justified with the explanation that the characters of the first game lost their memories of the twelfth cycle upon being revived for the thirteenth.
In addition, the old story's remake in 012 has been updated with new lines that allude to the events of the previous cycle, including Tidus, Terra, Cloud, Squall, and Cecil all remarking on the Manikins based on people they met before or during the previous conflict, often making ironic comments due to their lack of memories.
Retcon - Dissidia 012 expanded on the momentary opposition Exdeath showed to Golbez and Cecil by making him Kain's Arch-Enemy and by proxy to Golbez and Cecil, while the Emperor's role in Jecht's defection is expanded into him being Yuna's Arch-Enemy and the mastermind behind a scheme with Tidus and Jecht. As a result, their rivalries with Bartz and Firion are actually footnotes to their real conflicts with the mentioned characters, and looking at their confrontations with this new backstory in mind, there's no real rivalry between Bartz and Exdeath as much as Exdeath just happened to be the one Bartz fought at the end of the story. As for the Emperor and Firion, for the purposes of his plan the Emperor plays himself up as Firion's designated nemesis to him on purpose, since Firion needs to have his views challenged in order to assert them fully and get the Character Development needed to manifest the Crystal.
Rewarding Vandalism - Not only do you often get new trade accessories for destroying large pieces of the scenery, it's often the only way to get those particular items.
Roboteching - Some of the "homing" projectiles; Terra/Bartz's Holy and Warrior of Light's Radiant Sword being the clearest examples. In fact, Kefka's entire moveset practically revolves around this trope.
RPG Elements - What else did you expect from a Final Fantasy title?
Rubber Band A.I. - In Dissidia 012, the higher one character's Bravery, the higher the critical hit multiplier for the other character is. When near death, if you successfully dodge and counterattack, your trigger Assist Charge to instantly fill up your gauge.
Rule of Cool - A hero and a villain from almost every Final Fantasy get together and beat the crap out of each other. Come on. Also, a phrase commonly used to describe the gameplay is that it's like playing Advent Children.
Sailor Earth - The two games cover the 12th and 13th cycles. There's still Cycles One-Through-Eleven, and the events that occur in them are left very, very ambiguous. Pick a cycle number, pick your new additions to the roster, and have fun. Dissidia 012 even conveniently provides canon explanations on why no one will remember your additions in the later cycles and what could happen to them that they aren't around in such. The two games also provide Theme Naming for their titles if you're unsure what to call your story.
Schmuck Bait - Shade Impulse map 3-5. Hmm. Well, let's see; the map screen for this level is big, open, and totally empty, save for the boss square containing Garland and a single treasure chest. Let's open the treasure! Oh Crap! Simultaneous ambush by two ridiculously high-leveled enemy pieces (out of four placed just so)! GEE, WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED!
Speaking of, if you don't learn quickly to check the stats on enemies before attacking them in story mode, your first encounter with a High Level Enemy piece will go like this: "Wow, made it to level 3! Hey, high level treasure chest, and it's only one piece in front of it, Let's fight it! [twelve tries later] FINE! Have my fucking destiny points, ya cheap bastard!" It's even more likely if you pick the wrong starting level because one level has the High Level piece be a fucking ambush—meaning, if you even walk up to it, prepare to lose your points—and other levels have the pieces hidden until you attack them - Meaning you won't know it's a High Level Piece until you die. Mind you, that's less Schmuck Bait and more like Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
In Dissidia 012, at the end of the tutorial a Moogle asks if you've mastered the game. Answering yes pits you against a max-level Feral Chaos with 9999 Brave and 125,698 HP. And you're still at Level 1. Have fun.
And if you beat it (hard as that is to do so without hacking), the game doesn't believe you beat it, and you get exactly the same dialogue.
Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains - The majority of the Cosmos-side characters are fully covered—Terra has a minidress and tights in her default (no tights in the alt), and Tidus has his trademark teeny shirt, but that's the extent of bared skin. Chaos-side has Ultimecia, who wears a dress with a front slit up to the crotch and a neckline so low one can make a good guess as to her, erm, grooming habits, Kuja the Thonged Wonder, Sephiroth whose alt wears only pants and boots, Jecht whose normal getup is key to his Memetic Sex God status, and the Cloud of Darkness, who is wearing, essentially, body paint. Chaos himself is only wearing a loincloth, but as he's not precisely human, he doesn't really qualify.
Not as apt in Dissidia 012 with the addition of Tifa's Magic Skirt, Vaan in his shirtless-vest get up, and Prishe in her third outfit (read:practically a bikini). Tidus' third outfit leaves him shirtless, while Terra and Squall get third outfits that are more revealing than their previous outfits. Terra and Tidus's third alts are their outfits while fighting for Chaos, but they're never really villains.
Sequel Difficulty Spike - Though the story mode of 012 still isn't very difficult, enemies are at higher levels and have better equipment and accessories than in the first game. For a direct comparison, Destiny Odyssey I Part 5 in the first game had four enemies under level 10, one at 14, one at 15, and the boss was level 18. D012's equivalent level has four enemies at level 20, and the boss is level 26. As well, the original game's story mode tended to hand you Potions before each boss, fully healing you and giving you a full charge of your EX Gauge. D012, Potions are more scarce, and unless you bring the Cure skill with you, if you get weakened to only a few hundred HP in a gateway before you make it to the boss, you're going to have to make due with that. Additionally equipment is much more expensive and money is scarcer, so you're going to have to scrimp or rely on calendar bonuses to boost winnings if you want to keep your characters properly equipped.
Sequel Hook - A rather odd example of a Prequel Hook, Dissidia: Final Fantasy is set in the 13th cycle of the war, that ends up breaking the cycle of conflict, Dissidia 012, its "sequel", shows what happened in the 12th cycle of the war, which had a few more characters that didn't make it to the 13th cycle.
Set Bonus: Various equipment pieces have combination abilities attached to them that only activate when three or four pieces with the same ability are worn. The bonus combination effects range from extra EX Mode time, to getting more gil or AP from battle, to doing extra damage with certain types of attacks.
Set Swords to Stun - Everyone's beating the crap out of each other with giant swords and explode-y magic, the same ones that can reduce monsters into a pile of ashes in the original games, yet nobody seems worse for wear because of it.
On the issue of that explodey magic, many spells that were shown to have world-devastating effects in their original games— like Kefka's Light of Judgement, Sephiroth's Black Materia/Meteor, and Kuja's Ultima— are just EX Bursts or powerful HP attacks in Dissidia. And depending on everyone's BRV levels and equipment, it can be quite possible for the target to survive them, shrug it off, and keep fighting.
Ship Tease - A couple of scenes in Dissidia 012 hint at a pairing between Lightning and Firion. He actually just wants his rose back and talks to her about it when he finally asks for it, but the subtext is very thin—Cecil even appoints himself Firion's wingman and quite obviously believes his interest in her is romantic.
The relationship between the Warrior of Light and Cosmos creeps up on Bodyguard Crush territory when Dissidia 012 revealed The Warrior is a Manikin made in Cid's image and infused with his memories, while Cosmos is a Manikin infused with the memories of Cid's wife who also looks exactly like her. Even without that hint, the two are very close.
The Smurfette Principle results in Terra getting Ship Tease with Onion Knight, Cloud and Vaan. Onion Knight and Vaan protect her and encourage her to follow her heart, while she and Cloud reflect on their hopes for the future. Cecil, again acting as a Shipper on Deck, takes the Knight's vow to protect her as a sign of affection.
Cecil: "Say, why did you desire to protect Terra?" OK: "Huh? It's because—She's been uneasy since we met, so I thought I needed to protect her." Cecil: "So you've fallen for her, I see." OK: "Tha-that's not the reason!
And of all pairings, Firion x Shiva. In both games she entices him, giggling at his embarassment, and the trade accessory "Shiva Veil" has a description that again implies Firion's embarassment.
Some things are shout outs to things that aren't Final Fantasy, or even Square Enix. For example: The Accomplishment titled "Battlegenesis Does". Hell, there's a shout out to Miss Cleo, she of the fake-Jamaican-accented psychic hotline, in the theater's tutorial menu.
Mr. Clio originated in FFV, actually. Still hilarious, though.
Shown Their Work - There are so many nods and in-jokes to the original games it's amazing the devs did their research to fit them in, and to retain elements of the originals. For example, with the exception of Cloud's Ultima Weapon every character's weapon(s) look just how they did in their original game and/or the character's original artwork. This is particularly impressive with Vaan, who wields a total of eighteen different equipment pieces, and every one of them is completely identical to how it looked in Final Fantasy XII. And for each alternate outfit, consider the developers had to go looking for artwork, sprites, renders, etc, for inspiration on what outfits to base them on—and then the promotional images of these outfits are usually posed in a manner reflecting a render or artwork piece of that character. Even subtle things such as the way characters pose when attacking mirror the original game, and there's so many pieces of dialogue taken or alluding to the rest of the series you could fill a page here just by listing examples.
The World map in Dissidia 012 isn't just based on the map of Final Fantasy, but numerous gateways and teleport stones are actually named after towns and dungeons in the original game and lie in the same approximate locations. Furthermore, the world map is based on the Final Fantasy world map to amazing detail, right down to numerous land formations and and shapes being the same. Several areas differ but it's usually for gameplay reasons (the continents being connected for example), as a whole the two are identical.
Single-Stroke Battle - Some enemies use an equipment setup that greatly boosts their stats, but sets their HP to one. Therefore, the best way to win is quickly rushing them and hitting with a HP attack.
Smug Snake: The Emperor could have made Magnificent Bastard status due to his planning, but his insufferable arrogance and underestimation of the "insects" who oppose him leads to his downfall.
Kuja, even moreso than The Emperor, as he fancies himself the smartest, strongest, prettiest villain, even when his plans go haywire. When that happens, he either blames other people for it or calls sour grapes.
The Smurfette Principle - Terra is the only female hero, though Shantotto is technically on Cosmos's side as well even if she's a secret character. And just like everything else, it's referenced in the game. Technically, it's the same deal with Ultimecia on Chaos's side, since, apparently, Cloud of Darkness is supposed to be sexless...
Lampshaded by Zidane in Dissidia 012, who asks the player's character if he/she thinks that "there aren't enough females in this world".
012 seems to be mitigating this a little bit, since it's added Action Girls Tifa, Prishe and Lightning, White Magician Girl Yuna, and Shantotto is now officially on Team Cosmos. The boys will still outnumber the girls, but it's certainly better than nothing.
SNK Boss - Chaos. And Feral Chaos in Dissidia 012.
Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness - Theoretically you can buy any weapon you want at any time, but stronger weapons need rare trade accessories to trade in to get them, and these accessories aren't likely to be acquired until much later in the storylines. You're also hampered by each equipment piece having a level requirement, and if you're at a lower level you can't use it.
As characters level up their starting moves will probably be phased out in favor of new attacks. Perhaps the best examples are Terra's Holy and Holy Combo, the latter doing everything Holy does and tacking on the Ultima chainable attack to the end, and Exdeath's block attacks, with each outclassing the last, though High Block still has some uses compared to Omni Block (the main advantage being Omni Block requires precision timing).
The move examples are subverted somewhat in 012. Holy has significantly greater speed and tracking over Holy Combo and doesn't disperse if you dodge after using it, though the Ultima chain still makes Holy Combo superior. Exdeath's blocks meanwhile are entirely reworked—his first two blocks only block magical or physical attacks, while his level three block blocks both but can't block certain high-priority attacks they can. His level four Omni Block still blocks everything, but also still requires precise timing.
Subverted with Cloud's Fire spells. Firaga is a medium-range low-powered damaging spell with limited uses since if you can land a Firaga you can just as easily land Climhazzard or Sonic Break, while Fire is a long-range low-power damaging spell, but has strong homing and stays out a long time and so is an effective distraction, letting you punish your opponent's attempts to dodge or block it with another attack.
Soundtrack Dissonance - if you pick one of the three bonus eight-bit tracks. A PSP fighter with NES chiptune music. Although to the longtime fans this is Rule of Cool for the sake of pure and unadulterated fanservice.
Then in Dissidia 012, many of the new tracks included are simply not battle tracks, like Theme of Love, Fleeting Dream, and various mixes of the Chocobo theme, all of which can be used during fights.
Space Whale Aesop - The entire point of the Destiny Odyssey/Light to All storylines where the ten heroes get their Crystals is that the Crystals manifest when they prove their determination and will to fight, and this is done by having them undergo some form of Character Development. This is usually done by the character finding a proper reason to fight, or acknowledging the truth of why they fight for that cause. However, sometimes the aesop they're supposed to learn isn't conveyed very well, resulting in this trope.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Cid and his wife would definitely qualify for this trope. Cosmos and The Warrior of Light may also count as well.
Status Quo Is God - For the heroes at least, since it's greatly suggested that most, if not all of them, cannot remember the past cycles, so everytime they are summoned to fight, it's again a whole new thing for them.
Stealth Mentor - Golbez and The Emperor, though for different reasons. On a whole most of the villains act more like they're interested in taunting the heroes and getting them to confront their personal doubts than actually killign them. Turns out this is completely justified because a good portion of the villains were in on the plan to kill Cosmos by letting the heroes earn the Crystals. It isn't until Shade Impulse that they start "[following] the naked desires of [their] hearts", rather than acting like emotional obstacles.
Suicide Mission - The six Warriors of Cosmos in Dissidia 012 who didn't appear in the 13th cycle of the conflict give themselves to cut off the source of Chaos' Manikins that had been overwhelming their side, so that the remaining ten would stand a fighting chance in the next cycle. Whether they actually died or were simply freed from the cycle of conflict isn't totally clear, but they all acknowledge that, in doing this, they wouldn't be part of the next cycle, for better or worse.
Though the XIII sequels hadn't happened yet. So unless Square intended this series to take place after who knows how many XIII sequels and spin-offs they make, chances are she was sent back home to experience them. As well as Laguna lived to be much older in VIII.
Summon Magic - All the traditional faces plus Shout Outs, though they function differently from typical entries in the series.
Take That - Penelo gives this to several characters in the in-game manuals. She declares Cloud not interesting, Sephiroth not attractive, tells Squall to "go talk to a wall," hates Kefka for dancing and annoying people while he fights, finds Zidane too flirtatious, dislikes Kuja because "boys shouldn't be prettier than I am," she hates the fact that Gabranth is in the game and not Vaan, and so forth. In fact with a few exceptions, it seems the more popular characters are the ones she doesn't like.
Strictly speaking, the moogle is calling the original opera forgettable. Remember, Ultros tried to drop a 4ton weight, ended up dropping himself along with Locke and whichever team members he has on him, and initiated Boss Battle. Then Setzer dropped in and kidnapped Celes. None of that was part of the opera itself.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Most notable instance of this would be use an EX Burst on an enemy after depleting their HP, yes you can do that. With the patience to set such a thing up, you can do 9999 damage, + 9999 damage for Wall Rush, then initiate an EX Burst to do 9999 damage again. Take a look. There's also nothing stopping you from spamming Brave attacks on the opponent as long as you like, even if you already have 9999 Brave.
Special mention goes to the EX Burst of Feral Chaos, who impales the opponent victim on his claw, adds eight enormous swords and then finishes them off with a punch that breaks the screen, FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE!
Tin Tyrant - Garland, Golbez, Exdeath, and Gabranth.
Title Drop - All over the place, indirectly. The strongest attack of the end boss, Chaos, is called "Final Fantasy". Though sadly, it was changed to "Brink of Delusion" in the US release, meaning you'll have to wait for the Secret Ending Cutscene for the proper FF Title Drop.
"Edge of Madness" itself qualifies as well, and at one point Chaos references "the end of the dream". Plus, all the manikins have names that reference 'fantasy' in some way.
There's also the Emperor's line, "You should have disposed of your fantasy and accepted me as master."
Too Awesome to Use - The Summonstones Ultima Weapon and Omega. The first auto breaks the enemy after a set period of time, no matter what, and the latter reduceds the enemy's Brave by half ever 3/4 of a second or so while it's active, making guys like Leviathan obsolete. The problem? They only have one charge each, and they take the most battles to recharge out of any of the summons. Use them wisely.
The breakable accessories are in a similar boat—sure, you can make more of them, but it requires an investment of time and effort...so many players are prudent with their use of Resins.
The Unreveal - In the mognet sidegame, one of your moogle correspondents talks about the opera in Final Fantasy VI. The letter teases the reader about how we've never seen the end of the story:
After dancing with Draco, Celes had her solo, and I can't tell you how well it went! ...Seriously, I can't; it was pretty forgettable, kupo. I'd wanted to watch that opera to the end, too...
One of the Reports in Dissidia 012 written from Garland's perspective alludes to his becoming Chaos, noting that he is summoned into the past to become Chaos, who then summons his human self from the future, much as it was in Final Fantasy. In a subtle lampshading of the Timey-Wimey Ball at work in this, Garland notes that this infinite loop had to start somewhere, and thus originally another entity other than Chaos must have called him into the past for the cycle to begin. However, he has no idea who, and the game offers very few solid clues otherwise.
Turns Red - Characters literally glow red when low on health. In an actual invoking of the trope, many of the best booster accessories activate when you're about to die, and in Dissidia 012 your Assist gauge fully charges if you manage to dodge an attack and land one of your own when you're at critical health. This allows for Glass Cannon builds with a low-HP character that'll die in one hit, but has a huge booster multiplier and can keep their Assist gauge charged up for combo attacks.
Underground Monkey - In the same storyline enemy types will often share the same moveset, equipment list and accessories between them (ie, all the Ephemeral Phantoms are the same, etc). In "Confessions of the Creator" in Dissidia 012 there's only a dozen or so set-ups for equipment and accessories that all the enemies use. This can also sometimes apply throughout the game, only excusing enemies that are low-power and so deliberately have weaker equipment than others. Largely justified since for many characters the moves not being used aren't worth using — Garland's manikins for example always seems have the same six Bravery attacks, but when you look at his other ones, you can understand why they prefer that build.
The Unfavorite - In a meta sense. There were plenty of characters available from Final Fantasy XIV by the time Duodecim came out, and a number of people were even calling for Gaius Van Baelsar to make it in as at least the game's overall representative, if not the villain rep. XIV isn't even mentioned during Duodecim - despite having been out for half a year by the time 012 came out, on either side of the Pacific.
Unusable Enemy Equipment - Almost entirely averted, which is very impressive when you consider that this is a Final Fantasy game, moreover one with over 1000 pieces of equipment and accessories. Only a handful of these of these aren't available to the player: The three "broken" pieces of armor used by Mooks in the story modes (and quickbattle, if the CPU strength is set low enough) that actually reduce stats, Chaos' equipment set, and a dozen or so (out of over 500) accessories exclusive to enemies, one half being the same as those available to the player, but more so, a quarter being gimmicky, stat-reducing equips, and the remainder being utterly godly—Initial Bravery +2000%, anyone? Or, if that isn't enticing enough, Dissidia 012 comes with the Game Breaker variant in a single accessory that adds FIFTY THOUSAND hit points to the new resident SNK Boss. Or his x90 booster accessory that kicks in after one minute.. Taking the absolute cake, though, is the true Feral Chaos's accessory that gives him "+???" HP - really 115,000 HP - for a total of 125,698. Good luck, you'll need it.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight - In the original game, none of the characters remarked on the fact that the Manikins look exactly like the playable cast, and quite often a character would be stuck fighting a Manikin that looked, sounded and fought just like them. Rectified in Dissidia 012, where the origins of the Manikins are explained and several characters are shocked and confused by their physical appearances. In the remake of the original story, Bartz even reveals that he's able to mimic the attacks of people that are not in their group, like Laguna and Lightning, which confuses the hell out of Zidane, but Bartz, being Bartz, just thinks it's kind of cool.
Updated Re-release - Universal Tuning. However, Dissidia 012 won't have one due to how close the international version will be released to the Japanese one.
Dissidia 012 itself could be seen as one for the original Dissidia, as besides its own story it includes basically every feature of the original game, adjusted slightly, including the original's story adapted to the new gameplay mechanics and a scenario called Confessions of the Creator that replaces Inward Chaos and Distant Glory.
Urban Legend of Zelda - In the grand Final Fantasy tradition, it's accumulated a few, including claims of Chaos being playable without hacking the game (and his summon Shinryu being usable by the player). It was also (briefly) the subject of a widely believed hoax by a French gaming magazine, which created fake screenshots of Lightning, from Final Fantasy XIII, as a playable character in the Universal Tuning version.
Useless Useful Spell - The Ultima Weapon summon, which charges energy to instantly inflict Break on the opponent. However, this charge time is a full minute, so you're better off trying a summon that may not work as well but won't take sixty seconds to take effect—Lich drains the opponent's Bravery to 0, which is almost as good as inflicting Break, and it only takes 20/15 seconds to work. Also, Ultima Weapon has only one charge, so once you summon it you need to fight more than a half-dozen battles to power it back up for another summoning.
The Zalera summon instantly inflicts Break on the opponent if their Bravery is 9999. You will never see this occuring in any serious fight until your opponent is using a very unorthodox build.
In a subversion, Calcabrina cancels Break, which seems like a somewhat strange option, but it allows you to inflict Break (and get the stage bonus) again.
Vendor Trash: 012 brings the Silver and Gold Angels, which sell for 50,000 and 100,000 gold. The Gold Angels appear all over the world map in Confessions of the Creator, and with the prices of high-level equipment being what they are, you will need the cash to prepare your characters for the northern regions.
Victory Quote - Each character has four generic ones, two for enemies the same level as them, two for enemies of a lower level, two for enemies who are stronger and two for when they finish a fight in low health.
Video Game Cruelty Potential - You can attack your allies on the world map, and they recoil when struck. You can also corner them against cliffs and shorelines and wail on them mercilessly.
Some characters (those with upward attacks) can do the same to those darn stingy floating Moogle shopkeepers. And you'll want to do that.
Slightly inverted as well, in that the villains have no clue what some of the other villains are up to, but their good counterpart usually knows them well enough to guess. The biggest example is definitely Golbez and Cecil. All the villains assume Golbez is just playing along with the heroes, and only Cecil suspects that Golbez has different goals.
Vocal Evolution - While fans are split between which ones are good or appropriate for their characters or not, it is generally agreed that the less-than-standout vocal performances in Dissidia were improved upon for Dissidia 012.
Wall Jump - EVERYBODY can run up walls using Quickmove, and then leap into the air from it. An actual Wall Jump ability is introduced in Dissidia 012, which allows a very high jump up if the character jumps while using Quickmove.
Walking Shirtless Scene - Jecht, naturally. His son Tidus takes after him in 012. One of Sephiroth's alternate outfits is his topless appearance at the end of FFVII. Vaan wears only his little vest.
Warrior Poet - Because of their wise advices to one another, their strong beliefs, their discussions about dreams and their views of life, practically all the heroes come off as Warrior Poets.
We Cannot Go On Without You - No matter how many people are ostensibly in your party, you will have access to only one Warrior of Cosmos during each character's story. The other characters are apparently supposed to be fighting other Manikins while you fight yours; but it's still jarring when all ten heroes gather to fight Chaos, and it's still all over if the one you're controlling fails to beat him single-handed. (Granted, due to the end sequence having no Destiny Points to earn/lose on each map, Death Is a Slap on the Wrist as long as you keep retrying, but still...)
Dissidia 012 plays this straight sometimes (the Assist characters will never take your place if you fall in battle), but in some storylines you form a party of five, and when the leader falls the next person in line takes their place, all the way down to the fifth person if the enemy is that tough. And they will be.
When All You Have Is a Hammer - Cloud of Darkness; who has about a dozen variations on her classic Particle Beam to make up her HP Attacks, and Kuja; who uses absolutely nothing but variants of Flare(star), Holy, and Ultima.
Where It All Began - In Dissidia 012, the final battle with Chaos and the end of the cycles occurs at the Edge of Madness in the Edge of Discord gateway. Report 12 implies it was the Edge of Discord where Cosmos, Chaos and Cid first entered World B.
White and Gray Morality - Has shades, largely in the underlying concept that dark and light, and harmony and discord, are just arbitrary concepts used to draw distinctions where otherwise there are none, and as such you can't define someone solely by which side they serve. It's somewhat easy to overlook this theme since many of the Chaos warriors are Card Carrying Villains, but several of them are also Anti Villains who don't want to serve Chaos, or are fighting for personal reasons and don't care which side wins as long as they get what they want. Even Chaos himself is a literal Designated Villain who isn't really evil at all, he just happens to oppose Cosmos for the sake of the pact made between them, Cid and Shinryu. His minions are certainly evil, but Chaos himself is not.
Wide Open Sandbox: Quick Battle Mode. Oh man, where to begin? Not only can you choose your opponent and stage, you can also adjust the level of the opponent, so if you wanted, you could set it to match your level and have an epic battle, set it to a lower level so you can beat your opponent down, or you can test your skills against a higher-level opponent (or face off against a crazy-high level opponent if you're a masochist). You can even change the AI's strength and behavior. The possibilities are endless!
More than just that, the sequel has a Quest Creation mode, where you can set up to five different battles and put dialogue between each one to make it seem like a short story. You can also use the player icons you own to represent the characters talking, so you can create crazy crossovers, even between multiple incarnations of the same character, such as FF7 Sephiroth (as in his character portrait when he's a Guest Star Party Member in the original game) and Dissidia Sephiroth talking to each other. And then you can upload it on the internet for people to download it back on their PSP and play it! And besides all that, you can use it as an advanced Quick Battle: you have full control over the outfit, moveset, and equipment the characters use, so you can create your ideal opponent for whatever type of battle you want, then Test your quest and fight them.
"Confessions of the Creator" comes close to this: various gateways with a variety of level limits, many shops all over the world, you have objectives but are free to travel anywhere you like any way you like, and can use any characters to form your party.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: As revealed in Dissidia 012, Chaos didn't want to war with Cosmos initially, because he retained memories from when he was young and Cosmos looks like his mother. But over time, Garland managed to convince him to do it so they could go home, and eventually the power he gained from the cycles eroded his mind and he couldn't remember his past with Cosmos, and it's implied he also forgets why he started the war at all. No wonder Chaos is an Orcus on His Throne — he just doesn't care much about the war one way or the other.
The Worf Effect - The intro to Dissidia spares no time in showing just how outmatched the Warriors of Cosmos are, with the heroes only being able to match their opponents blow for blow at best. This is later subverted as the heroes come back from the brink of total defeat, triumphing over the Warriors of Chaos and Chaos himself, helping to bring the conflict to a hopeful climax.
In Dissidia 012, this is taken to hilarious extremes when Gilgamesh and Bartz have their second duel, with Bartz even using a fake, overly dramatic voice to match Gilga's.
Bartz: How long, I have waited, for this chance! Gilgamesh: AT LAST, let battle be joined!
The funny part comes later when you realize that the scenario's title The Duel of Dreams! is actually more literal than you think, and that the whole event was a dream of Gilgamesh's as he fantasizes defeating Bartz, who then begins to hammishly praise him as an ultimate warrior. Then it fades, and you see Gilgamesh floating in the Rift, muttering to himself. Then, Gilgamesh actually appears to Bartz and challenges him, and Bartz response is one words: "Weird."
You Have Researched Breathing - Your characters can't even block or dodge attacks without the ability to do so equipped, fortunately all characters begin with those abilities. No such luck with the various Dash abilities, you learn those as you level up. Yes, you need to learn the ability to dash in a particular direction at a particular speed.
You also need to buy the ability to use different types of equipment. Sometimes that makes sense—you wouldn't expect little guys like Onion Knight or Zidane to know how to use a Greatsword innately. On the other hand, they also need to learn how to wear hairpins and carry a shield. To compensate somewhat for the above, mastering the abilities that allow you to wear more types of equipment also teaches them another skill that gives them an additional stat boost when wearing that kind of equipment.
You Keep Using That Word - "Dissidia" does not mean "conflict" in Latin. "Dissidia" doesn't mean anything, it is a Neologism. Dissidia is likely derived from "dissido" and "dissideo", Latin words which refer to disagreeing with someone, or opposing something. These Latin words are the root of the English word "dissident", as well as similar sounding words with similar meanings in other languages.